Friday, April 23, 2010

Gayer than Gay?

This week’s episode of GLEE was the all Madonna themed show. Yes, I am super-Gay for knowing this, and I am even Gayer for actually tearing up during the show. It was fun, surprisingly well done, and to me, demonstrated what a talent Madonna really is.

I found an old Live Journal entry that I wrote when “Hard Candy” dropped back in 08, I thought I would share:

Today truly is a national holiday, it always is when a new Madonna CD comes out. So, a few of my students were running to Michael's to pick up some art stuff, and since I am stuck here until 9 tonight, I tossed Murphy a $20 and asked her to pick up "Hard Candy" for me. Yeah, I am the gay for doing that, but hey, what's a true blue fan to do if he has to work all day when her CD comes out? So far, I like it a lot. It's not her typical stuff, but it had us bobbing and dancing in the studio as we previewed it, we were all pretty much into the groove.

The remixes will probably be killer, can't wait to hear all of them. Not sure what D.J.s are in voque right now, but they certainly have a lot to express themselves with then they hear this. I hate to rain on anyone's parade, but this truly a great work of art. Certainly not bedtime story material, as you'll want to go and dance, but it isn't frozen in the 70's like the last CD. I could go deeper and deeper into my analysis, but I won't.

The day that "Confessions on a dancefloor" dropped was the day that Anna dropped into our lives. SInce we couldn't get into the hospital until 9, we dropped by a Target and picked it up on the way to take her home from the hospital. Years from now when she reads this, she'll probably end up in therapy for that... but hey, she'll live to tell. I doubt she'll be too hung up on the fact that I put getting Madonna over rushing to get her from the hospital. We'll talk, but she'll probably just say... Papa don't preach.

Friday, April 9, 2010

You gotta have art

The first few weeks of Anna’s life were spent in Ohio due to the fact that hers was an interstate adoption. Time seemed to drag and we were eager to get out and do things with our new charge. One of the things we took advantage of was the Toledo Museum of Art. Faithful readers will know that I am a HUGE fan and will go to this venerable institution whenever I can. Today I took my art history class from the Adrian Campus down to view the art as I do each semester. It was a good turnout, and I hope that the students got as much joy from the museum as I do on a regular basis. Today was made even more special by the fact that we were meeting my parents so they could drop off Anna who had been staying with them the past week.

Four and a half years ago I strolled through the galleries with my new child, unsure of my new role as a parent and not really sure who this little creature was cooing in the stroller before me as we ambled through the artwork killing time between feedings. Today I waited in the museum’s opulent grand foyer for Anna to show up with my parents. I was admiring a piano that the museum staff and others had decorated in memory of Art Tatum’s 100th birthday (he’s from Toledo, natch) when she came into view. My heart leapt and as I heard her squeal in delight when she saw me. She ran to me and we hugged each other hard and long. Immediately she wanted to head downstairs to make art in the children’s area, which 20 years ago were the very classrooms and studios that I learned how to become a teacher of art. We gathered everyone and headed down to the old School of Design and were bummed to find out that the kid’s area was closed for a class.

Needless to say, we’ll be back. In two weeks Tod and I are heading down sans kids for a “night at the museum” tour of the galleries with flashlights (FOR REALS!!!). The art geek in me is thrilled and knows that Tod and I may be the only adults in a sea of Cub Scouts and Brownies. I am okay with that, and I am okay with the fact that my daughter loves the museum. Eli has yet to see the wonders therein, but I am certain he will soon fall prey to the wily wills and siren songs of the Rembrandts, el Grecos, Van Goghs, and the countless other treasures that have wormed their way into my heart over the past 40 some odd years. I can’t wait.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Missing my kids version 2.0

When I worked at YMCA Storer Camps as a summer camp employee, we would often get children telling us that they would LOVE to live at the camp and thought it was really cool that us workers did indeed have our own cabins and did live there full time. We would intently listen to the kids gush about how much they loved us and how much they would love to be here 24/7 and we would kindly respond “how can we miss you if you NEVER go away?”

That phrase would often bring confused smiles to their faces. The smarter ones knew that it was a brush off, but it does ring true. Sometimes the everyday becomes mundane and predictable. And you go through life on auto-pilot it takes a little change to shake things up. That happened to us this week as both kids were dispatched to the grandparents (one to each set) after Easter. Tod is on break this week and we wanted some time to get some of the projects that we put on hold when Eli came to live with us done.

We have been busy this week and not having to worry about the kids is a blessing. But it is deathly quiet here and I don’t like it. The house seems empty and has remained relatively clean. We pick the kids up tomorrow and I can’t wait. I talked with Anna on the phone the other day and she was very intent on sharing all the details about her time in Ohio with my parents. I found myself missing her wit and charm and wanted to hear more and more about her time away. We used Skype to chat with Eli at Tod’s parents, a definite plus for him, as he is very visual. He wasn’t responding to our greetings, but was rather intently watching to see who those faces were in the computer.

I asked him the million dollar question: what does a bear say? And he dutifully responded “Grrrrrrrrrrrrr!” It was that connection that made me choke up and realize how much I missed them both. Sure the house is clean and I have been able to sleep in, it takes me back 4 and a half years to when Tod and I were on our own with just Oscar and Lola to worry about. It’s nice to reconnect with Tod, but it will be even nicer to see my girl and pick her up at the fabulous Toledo Museum of Art tomorrow when we head down with my art history class. We will then head over to meet Mr. Eli in Battle Creek and we will once again be together as a family.

I can’t wait.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

A very happy Easter!

From the two-legged and four-legged McMillen-Oakley children.

Friday, April 2, 2010

That's what HE said

Time has not been on my side lately with two art shows, and a whole host of other events going on, so I am going to cut n’ paste an entry I found from Pam’s House Blend. I read Wayne’s post and felt like he took the words right out of my mouth.

Many of the readers on the Blend know that my partner, Anthony Niedwiecki, and I were married in California before Prop 8 passed and became one of the 18,000 limited edition gay couples (Tom’s note: giggle, we’re a limited edition!) grandfathered in to marriage equality. I posted about the entire experience, from our initial decision to marry in California to the wedding day itself. I even blogged about our honeymoon (well, parts of it...).

This is a very personal fight to me. Our wedding day in California was one of the most special days in my life. It felt like the entire city was congratulating us everywhere we went. While my husband and I have been together for many years (and have our civil union from Vermont and shared a commitment ceremony with our families- the "rainbow marriage tour" as our loved ones call it), California was something special for us. It was a special day for our family.

And it's why I got a special thrill out of marking HUSBAND in the relationship box on the Census.

That's also why I decided to "Queer the Census". While the bright pink stickers may not have been perfect (our community self-identifies in so many different ways) or might not even be noticed by those opening the envelope, it meant something to me to be visible and be proud of our relationship and our family. I think that living in a state like Florida, that is hostile to LGBT people on so many levels, only makes it more important to be visible. Since we live in a state that doesn't recognize marriage for same-sex couples, it was important for us to make sure our government counted us as we wanted to be counted. We may be strangers in the eyes of the law of our state, but that's not how we chose to be counted.

We are married. We are gay. We are proud.

When so many forms require us to mark "single" (I'm looking at you, IRS tax forms!), this small act was really something special to me- a glimpse at a part of the equality we are fighting for.

Little moments like that help keep me fighting when the march for equality gets rough. And it gets rough a lot.

Marriage Equality may not be the fight everyone in our community wants to get involved in, but we should all value and respect each other's relationships. However you choose to identify your family, I hope you all take the chance to do it on the census.

And I hope it feels as good for you as it did for me.

Tod and I gleefully checked Married as well. Perhaps we will count for something somewhere.